Rare, Magnificently Decorated Carved Wood Chinoiserie Tea Shop Figure, second quarter 19th century, probably Venetian for the English market, on a giltwood plinth decorated with a carved shell and tea plant leaves and seeds, the figure depicted dressed in richly embroidered silks, one foot in embroidered slippers, resting upon his turban, dressed in a gold jacket, his hair in a queue, one hand balancing a sign holder atop his head, now mounted with a brass-covered shell, and his other hand poised to hold a teacup in an aristocratic fashion, h. 67", w. 23", d. 19-1/2". Provenance: Galerie Gabrielle Laroche, Paris, France.
Generally in good condition with no signs of wear commensurate with its age. The brass-clad shell on top is not original. The figure could possibly have held a sign, teacup, teapot, or something else signifying tea. The laminated base displays wood shrinkage and the consequential lines on the giltwood surface. The front edge displays some loss of gesso and gold leaf. The costume has scattered wear to the polychrome colors over the gilt ground, particularly on the knee. There are other bits of minor scattered wear to the gilded surface of the clothing. The face and arms are gessoed and painted with numerous layers of restoration due to age. All the body elements are intact and stable surfaces do not appear to be actively flaking, but some loss has occurred, particularly on the fingers. Layers of old grime have settled on some of the upper surfaces. There is a crack on one forearm, possibly where the wooden carving is laminated like the base, possibly where it was broken and re-glued.